Rat Queens #5
Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch
I will most certainly be SPOILING!
Rat Queens is a surprisingly entertaining title that follows the hijinks of four high fantasy adventurers whose company name is the same as the title. Fun loving thief, entitled necromancer, atheist cleric, and a surprisingly feminine dwarf wile away their days living the party life and questing to pay for it. Hated by their city, the Palisades, the Rat Queens however find themselves both defending and avoiding being evicted (or killed) by the town proper.
The tale so far….
The rat queens are one of five teams of adventurers that live like rockstars. Their brawls and parties have become a major issue for the Palisades. The mayor sends his lead guardsmen to level his latest decree, “Each of you will perform this task, or be banned from the Palisades permanently.” Each team is assigned a task, and sent on their way.
This, as squid faced star pilots would say, is a trap.
A powerful assassin attacks each team. The Rat Queens are saved a prolonged fight by a troll that crushes their assassin and which the Queens quickly dispatch. On their way home, they run into the two remaining members of one of the other teams and help to keep them alive. The six get back to the tavern and “honor” their fallen friends, which at this point is fully half of the adventurers from the Palisades. The only others to survive are the adventurers known as the Four Daves.
The morning after, the necromancer of the Rat Queens, attempts to confront the mayor under the illusion of the guard captain and is immediately caught. The fallout of this introduces a more complex relationship between her and the guard captain, Capt. Sawyer. The following issue shows the thief, Betty, using her espionage expertise to first case, and then rob the Merchants Guild. Also, we get a window into the personal lives and pasts of several of the Queens.
Just as the Queens, more specifically the thief, find out who is behind the assassins, the girlfriend of the troll they killed leads an attack on the Palisades. A surprisingly brutal fight scene ensues and just as everything begins to look grim, the wall is breached, and the Four Daves show up as reinforcements.
Now that you’re up to date…
The comic opens with a bit of intrigue as the woman who has paid for the assassins is confronted by the Merchants Guild man. In a surprisingly violent turn, he begins to choke her, calling in her debt, as it were.
The Four Daves rush into the melee and continue fighting, seemingly turning the tide for a time. That is until, after saving the Queen’s necromancer, the dwarf, Violet, takes an arrow to the throat. Hannah, the necromancer, loses it and in some kind of magical berserker rage, single-handedly ends the fight and forces the troll to bludgeon herself to death with her own club.
In a scene that is both surprisingly touching, and comfortingly rough, the Queen’s show their friendship over Violet, as she is unconscious and trying to recover. Upon waking, Violet all but demands a party with plenty of debauchery.
The party offers a lot of insight into the characters relationships, but more importantly, some timely reveals dealing with certain character’s pasts. Of course, the past comes in the form of a man from Dee’s, the atheist cleric, former religion.
Finally, this issue ends the same way it started, with INTRIGUE! Once more we see the man from the Merchants Guild, explaining much to an unseen audience. We soon find that the audience is Burnadette, the woman who bought the assassins, tied up for some sort of ritual. The ritual, according to the Merchant, is practice, for he has been waiting a long time to take vengeance on the master of the guard for killing his wife.
This issue was one that speaks to masterful timing. This series has been comical and action packed, which is enough to keep a reader occupied, but not forever. By hinting at the past and entwining relationships into the story, everything has taken on a new depth and more interest. This has become a comic not only worth reading, but truly riveting, and absolutely worth every penny.
My rating: 5/5
Check out this article from Image about the success of Rat Queens.